Since making her debut in 2005, Carrie Underwood has become a Grand Ole Opry fixture who dazzles audiences again and again with her dynamic vocals, commanding stage presence, and humility. While Carrie has had many standout moments on the Opry stage, these five hold a special place in our heart.
Carrie Underwood’s Most Iconic Opry Moments
1. Her Sweet Debut
Just two weeks fresh off her American Idol win, Carrie finally got the opportunity to perform on the one stage she’d known but never stood on her whole life. “I don’t even know how, but I always knew what it was,” she says. “You don’t have to see it or hear it; you automatically know what it is. That’s how legendary it is.” While nervous to perform, Carrie gave the Opry audience a glimpse of her rising star power during her Opry debut on June 10, 2005, during which she performed “Inside Your Heaven” and Roy Orbison’s “Crying.”
2. Her Opry Member Invitation Delivered by Randy Travis
Carrie had long idolized Randy Travis before she became a country music artist herself, eventually releasing a cover of Randy’s “I Told You So” on her 2007 Carnival Ride album. On March 15, 2008, Carrie had just wrapped up her performance of the song on the Opry stage when Randy snuck up behind her. Randy had an even bigger surprise in store for Carrie: an invitation to become the Grand Ole Opry’s newest member. Shocked, Carrie teasingly replied “Let me think about it” followed by an immediate and resounding yes before tearing up.
3. Her Life-Changing Opry Induction
Just when joining the Opry family seemed like it couldn’t get any sweeter, Garth Brooks was on hand to do the honors of inducting Carrie on May 10, 2008. After Garth’s short but powerful speech and a hug, Carrie stood on the Opry circle to take in the magic of the moment. As her family looked on from the audience, Carrie happened to gain another family that night: her Opry one. “I just want to thank everybody at the Opry for having me as a part of your family, because it really seems like a great family to be a part of,” Carrie said through tears. It’s a moment we haven’t forgotten either.
4. Her Surprise Duet with Reba McEntire
Carrie couldn’t miss out on celebrating fellow Oklahoman and Opry member Reba McEntire’s 40th anniversary of her Opry debut in 2017. The pair performed the soaring, goosebumps-inducing ballad “Does He Love You,” a duet Reba originally released in 1993 that featured Linda Davis. “I just got schooled,” Carrie teased at the conclusion of their performance, but we know that the two powerhouses’ voices complemented one another perfectly. The Opry crowd’s standing ovation was one of complete awe — Carrie’s appearance was a total surprise that night.
5. Her Moving Speech at Kelsea Ballerini’s Induction
The magnitude of the Opry stage is never lost on its members, including Carrie. Once an artist becomes an Opry member, she will one day have the distinguished honor of formally inducting another deserving artist into the Opry family. When Carrie inducted Kelsea Ballerini as a member in April 2019, her moving speech captured the very ethos of the show. “Awards and No. 1s and sales and tours and just all of it — this is better than all of that. This is the heart and soul of country music,” Carrie said. “The Opry has been and will always be the heart and soul of country music, the family. You are in it.”